One problem with removing XP-for-gold from a game where that is the driving force behind the level advancement mechanic, is that you're left figuring out how to award XP in a manner that allows for reasonably paced level-advancement
Actually, let's back up: the problem also was noticed that, in randomly generating the contents of The Ever Expanding dungeon, treasure has amounted to 600sp. That would be fine for a silver standard game, but I'm running it as a gold standard monetary system.
The majority of the party's gain, monetary and thus XP, came from the 9Q session during which the party found the treasure of the massacred gnoll village and the ogre's treasure - neither of which was inside the dungeon proper.
Relying on random placement and generation of treasure, thus far, has made all of the character death seemingly pointless. If these were being run by players in a social game, I am sure that I would have a hard time convincing them to go back into the dungeon.
In a social game, however, I can give out role-playing awards in varying amounts to balance this.
Playing solo, as I primarily do, that seems a bit like cheating:
"Hey John, great job today playing Feldspar, loved the pantomime communication with the kobolds. 500 XP for him. And 600 XP for Sister Linkat, I really thought it was her at the table at times."
Yes, that seems just a trifle odd.
Ok, then, what to do? Turn to the interwebz, of course.
Here are my current guidelines for awarding XP, which I assembled before Session 10. None of the below is original to me, but unfortunately, I can't recall which sites provided which suggestions*:
Guidelines for the Standardized Awarding of Non-Gold XP
- For every point of damage a PC deals out, they get 10 XP. (I)
- Damage dealt via a natural 20 earns 20 XP per point of damage dealt (I)
- For every point of damage they suffer, they get 20 XP. (I)
- For every use of a class specific skill (casting a spell, turning undead, picking locks, etc.) successful or not - 75 XP * character's level (I)
- For every attribute check, pass or fail, 10 * result of the value rolled * character's level (I)
- For every saving throw, pass or fail, 10 * result of the value rolled * character's level (I)
- For each new room discovered or stairwell located, 100 XP * dungeon level (P)
- For each encounter survived - 20 XP * dungeon level (I)
- Monster XP as given in rules - negotiating, turning, or killing earn same XP (P)
(I) = an individual award
(P) = a party award to be divided amongst the PCs and NPCs, the latter counting as 1/2.
In addition, I completely eliminated XP-for-Gold. That's right, not even XP on a fractional basis.
When session 10 was over, each PC came away with 200-300 XP each.
That might sound like I was overly generous - but I think the fact that, after the 9 sessions prior, only 1 PC was even half-way to 2nd level is enough to demonstrate that I needed to come up with a better method.
This is especially true if I hope to run LL or B/X as a social game again for players with advancement expectations shaped more by modern rules.
The awards have the added benefit of encouraging me to involve the PCs, in a method consistent with their motivations, backgrounds and skill sets. I found it easier to have each PC participate in the narrative in a personality-centric way.
I plan to run a few more sessions this way and see how the XP awards play out. Thus far, I'm fairly satisfied that they're working as desired.
*EDIT: the damage for XP comes from The Tao of D&D